Central Library, Lobby Gallery
by Jean Shin and Brian Ripel
For this site-specific installation, we negotiated the removal of hundreds of decorative wrought iron elements from Brooklyn brownstones. These ornamental "curly Qs" adorned window bars, gates and fences, perhaps in an attempt to conceal their security function.
This artwork is installed in the staircase between the second and third floors of the library, where it embellishes the utilitarian railings. Initially, the wrought iron scrolls politely occupy their conventional spaces between the bars of the stair handrail. The ornament slowly encroaches upon the unused void space at the center of the stairwell, blossoming into a self-supporting, free-form construction, as if finally liberated from its security role.
To view the installation, enter the staircase just outside of Society, Sciences & Technology on the second floor.
You can also view documentation for this project in the Lobby Gallery, just outside the Multilingual Center on the first floor.
"Meet the Artist": Jean Shin and Brian Ripel
Central Library - Lobby Gallery
Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Jean Shin is part of the fine arts faculty at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and is best known for transforming cast-off objects into expressions of identity and community. She has had solo exhibitions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. She has received numerous awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Architecture/Environmental Structures, the NYFA Fellowship in Sculpture, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Art Award. She earned a M.S. in art history and criticism and a B.F.A. in painting from Pratt Institute.
Brian Ripel is a registered architect in New York State and the principal and founder of RSVP Architecture Studio in Brooklyn. In addition to his professional practice, he is an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he coordinates the undergraduate Architectural Media and Communications Program. He has won numerous awards, most recently Interior Design magazine's "Best of Year Merit Award, Casual Restaurant" for the Root Hill Café in Brooklyn. He earned a M.S. in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute.
Photograph of Jean Shin and Brian Ripel by Lynn Saville